The Louvain Centre for Eastern and Oriental Christianity and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparchy in Paris organized an international conference «Metropolitan Sheptytskyy and the Ecumenical Orientation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church today» on November 12, 2015 in Louvain, Belgium.
Living in a turbulent period of history, Metropolitan Sheptytskyy demonstrated and lived truly heroic virtues and a saintly character. Moreover, his avantgarde thinking made him a pioneer of ecumenism and a forerunner of the Vatican’s teaching on ecumenical dialogue. Although more than a century has passed since his heroic efforts of reconciling the Churches, the actuality of his works and thought remain strongly present and we are responsible for his legacy to be preserved and taught to the future generations. The following are just some of the quotes from the Pastoral Letters of Metropolitan Sheptytskyy that were used in a presentation by Taras Dzyubanskyy «An Avant-Garde Ecumenical Thought of Metropolitan A. Sheptytskyy»:
If we love our people, we must stick firmly to our holy catholic Church. Be sure that it is only within this Church, by the will of God, we will flourish and we will realize our vocation given to us by God. We, catholics of the eastern rite, are called by God to bring to true catholic faith those brothers who are not with us and who do not belong to our Church.
Pray for the «unity of all God’s Churches» and remember them in your prayers. To those brothers are not united with us give them your example of how to live a good Christian life. Your Christian virtues – and charity above all, – should become the signs of authenticity of your faith. Know the difference between our traditions and do not accept any falsehoods, but rather show them true and authentic Christian love.
It is obvious and clear that in light of some of the changes among western Christians we eastern catholics have to slowly adapt to them as well. If we do not try at least to adjust to those changes, we will become estranged and foreign to our western brothers and to the whole Catholic Church.
The reason why it is necessary and just to adjust to new concepts and ideas is because it was the Holy Fathers and the Popes themselves that request the new intellectual movements to be welcomed and cherished…
It is because of such papal appeals and in light of the Holy Unity that we need to study, discuss and debate over important questions arising from reading our liturgical and ecclesiastical literature.
The whole purpose of my life and work was to gather people under the flag of Christ. For me, the flag of Christ is the teachings and life of Christ, which has been an orientation compass in my life. And even if I am to die today, my greatest achievement in life would be to see all of you saved.»